Meet Heather Grace, one of our team members making an impact through our physical health services as one of our dedicated occupational therapists (OTs). After earning her master's degree in occupational therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, her bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in adaptive physical activity from Slippery Rock University, and spending two years at our amazing place, see what brings Heather inspiration and joy in her career!
Whether you’re looking for physical health services that can best support your child and family or are interested in starting a new career where you can make an impact, we want to hear from you. Learn more about our physical health services or view our career opportunities today.
When you think of The Children’s Institute, what comes to your mind?
Heather Grace, MOT, OTR/L
"When I think of The Children’s Institute, I think of a highly-skilled and educated group of individuals that provides high quality and all-encompassing services to meet each child’s individual needs and still find a way to make it fun."
How does being a part of The Children's Institute's mission make you feel?
"It fills me with great pride to represent The Children’s Institute in helping children move towards a more purposeful and fulfilling life. We work together across different disciplines to provide the most all-inclusive support in order to meet a child’s ever-changing needs. Parents bring their children to The Children’s Institute because of our great reputation throughout Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. The children enjoy coming here because they feel the overwhelming support of the team to meet their challenges."
What inspires you?
"The children inspire me to be a better therapist and person daily. So many of them have overcome obstacles and have dealt with so many hardships/challenges at such young ages. Despite these hardships, they keep smiling and pushing themselves to reach their goals. Getting to see the world through a child’s eyes helps me on a daily basis appreciate everything, even the little things. I always say they teach me as much, if not more, than I could ever teach them. The children inspire me to be a better therapist and person, and for that I am so grateful."
What is your most memorable, positive on-the-job experience?
"It's extremely hard for me to pick one positive on-the-job experience that is most memorable because I have had so many. Any time a child I’m working with completes a task or reaches a milestone that they have been struggling to reach – those are always my favorite moments. To see how proud and excited that child is of themselves and to see those same reactions/feeling from their parents/caregivers makes even the hardest days feel worth it. It’s an honor to be able to celebrate those victories with the children and their parents."
'Fun' is one of our core values. What does your team do to make every day more fun?
"OTs really know how to put the 'fun' in 'functional,' especially at The Children’s Institute. Everyone kind of jokes that you will hear us occupational therapists before you see us because we like to make everything fun and play-based. A child’s main occupation is play, and for them to enjoy what they’re doing during play, it has to be fun."
What is your favorite part of your job?
"My favorite part of my job is all of my amazing coworkers. My fellow OTs have taught me and pushed me to be a better OT and I’m forever grateful for each and every one of them. I am also so grateful for the other disciplines. Their willingness to teach me about what they do, see things from a different perspective, and their willingness to collaborate to treat the child as a whole has changed the way I treat completely. Also, to our support staff for keep everything running smoothly, troubleshooting problems that come up, and keeping our schedules together. The OTs are also extremely appreciative of our new OT supervisor who is there to help bounce ideas off of and really cares about how we are doing from day to day. In short, I don’t know where I would be or what kind of OT/person I would be without my Children’s Institute family."
Why would you encourage parents to look into The Children's Institute for their child?
"I would encourage parents to look into The Children’s Institute for their child because of the providers that work here. Everyone I have the pleasure of working with always goes above and beyond for the children they are providing services for. Providers of the same and different disciplines collaborate to provide a level of care for each child that is unique and child specific. The success of each child and the steps needed to reach their goals are at the center of The Children’s Institute focus."